Nevada Mother Concerned About Gun Sale to Mentally Ill Son

| by Dabney Bailey
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Police Sgt. Laura Conklin of Reno, Nev., might be in hot water after selling a handgun to the wrong person. Conklin posted online explaining that she wanted to sell her Glock pistol. A 19-year-old man responded to the ad, so Conklin told the man to meet her at a local Starbucks at 4 a.m. Conklin was working the graveyard shift at the time.

Conklin allegedly asked the man if he had committed any crimes, to which he replied, “no.” Satisfied, Conklin sold the gun to the man for $950 and included a signed bill of sale.

The problem? The buyer has a history of mental illness. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and was committed to West Hills Hospital for being a threat to himself and others.

It is illegal under state and federal law for a person who has been committed to a mental health facility to own a firearm. It is also illegal to sell a firearm to a person who has been institutionalized, meaning that Conklin broke some major laws while she was on the clock.

Jill Schaller, the mother of the buyer, alerted reporters at the Reno Gazette-Journal, who managed to piece the story together. She has filed a complaint with the Reno Police Internal Affairs, arguing that the illegal sale could have endangered her family or ended her son’s life. Indeed, the story is eerily reminiscent of the Sandy Hook shooting tragedy where the mentally disturbed Adam Lanza killed his mother and then went on to shoot elementary school students.

Conklin is currently under "administrative investigation," according to Reno Police Chief Steve Pitts. Deputy City Attorney Jack Campbell added that Conklin did not violate any policies by selling the gun while on the job.

"How would anyone have known [the man] was at West Hills?" Campbell said.

The answer is already on the lips of gun control advocates everywhere: a mandated background check.

Source: USA Today